JFK's salary to charity?

Clinton reported his and Hill’s net worth as $700,000 in 1992.

CNN estimated the Obama’s worth at 1.3 million in 2007, so there’s ‘just barely a millionaire’ territory.



Probably Truman. He had been a small time (and mostly unsuccessful) businessman before entering politics. And he was honest in politics so he didn’t get rich there. I remember reading that when Truman left the Presidency in 1953, he moved into his mother’s old house and was living off his Army pension (this was before there was a Presidential pension).

Eisenhower had not been a millionaire for most of his life. But his postwar memoirs sold very well and he had probably become a millionaire by 1952.

I find it amusing that people think of Franklin Roosevelt as a stereotypical plutocrat candidate. In point of fact, the Roosevelt family fortune, while old, was relatively modest. Hoover was much wealthier than Roosevelt when they ran against each other in 1932.

Regarding whether Joe Kennedy Sr. was a bootlegger:

The book “Last Call - The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” by Daniel Okrent (which Ken Burns based his film on) makes a very convincing case that Joe Kennedy never made money from bootlegging.

While the Camelot patriarch certainly stocked a warehouse with oceans of booze for bribing whomever he needed to (Joe Sr. himself didn’t drink), Okrent never found any evidence that he broke laws or made money selling illicit booze. He stocked his warehouse prior to passage, which many (most?) rich people did. It was perfectly legal.

Okrent claims the the long-heard rumors about Kennedy wealth having its roots in bootlegging came from JFK’s opponents when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1953.

The link to Cecil’s column outlines how Joe made his money. I would wager the well-timed stock speculations made use of some insider knowledge, but I don’t know whether even that would have been illegal - the laws against it were a lot less strict than now.

My vote for last President is Gerald Ford. He made lots of money post-presidency, but claimed a net worth of $323,489.00 in December of 1975. Cite.

I already cited Clinton being worth less than a million when he took office.

Right, right.

I meant “time before last”

(Or, :smack:)

I think Jimmy Carter was also rather ‘poor’ as Presidents go, having spent much of his life in the military, which isn’t really highly paid.

But he also owned a fair-sized peanut farm, and the value of that land might greatly increase his paper net worth. (Rather like my parents, who were told they were too wealthy for their kids to get college aid, because they owned farmland (and the price/acre was real high right then), even though their cash income was quite low.)

There were no federal laws governing insider trading in Joseph Kennedy’s trading days. There may have been applicable state laws but I’m not aware of any prosecutions for insider trading before the stock market crash in 1929. The federal statute prohibiting insider trading and creating the Securities and Exchange Act wasn’t passed until 1934. The first head of the SEC? Joseph Kennedy. It was a case of the fox guarding the hen house but, by all accounts, he did a very good job.

FDR was a stereotypical plutocrat. He inherited the equivalent of 4 million dollars when he was 18, had a mother who was worth ten times that. He then married into more money. Growing up he vacationed in Europe, played polo, golf, and enjoyed sailing. He went to a prestigious prep school, and lived in a suite in a prestigious house while at Harvard. He used his family connections and his wealth to enter politics.
Hoover’s dad was a blacksmith and both his parents died before Hoover turned ten. He worked both in high school and college. His fortune was entirely self made and he got into politics by organizing relief for the hungry after WW1.
Being a plutocrat is not just about amount of money, it is about where it came from and a person’s background.

I just have a hypothesis that the skills necessary to get elected overlap with the skills necessary to make serious coin. Money talks and all, and having influence, or the ability to wield influence, can also go a long way towards making a person rich.

(Also, I said “in 2015 dollars” for a reason. Was Ford worth less than someone now with a seven-figure net worth?)

I’m sure that some people here know that Truman’s financial situation was the impetus for the Presidential pension.

Don’t you mean ten-figure net worth? A seven-figure net worth would be less than 10 million.

In any case, Ford was one of the first three billionaires ever.

Are you sure you aren’t thinking of Gerald J. Ford?

Going back to the OP’s question, this cite lists three sources that say that JFK donated his salary to charity - and lists the Boy and Girl Scouts, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, and (starting in 1962) the United Negro College Fund and the Cuban Families Committee among the beneficiaries.

When you’re talking about wealth, and say “Ford” without any kind of qualifier, there is only one Ford that can be reasonably assumed to be under discussion.